India Retreat

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Monthly Theme: Flow

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Our theme this month is Flow. As I sit down to introduce our theme, I am experiencing a bit of writer’s block. This is no surprise since I am sitting to write about flow, a contradiction in my own life lately. I have been connecting more to the discord in our society than the JOY of being.

I feel the tension of fear surrounding certain parts of my physical body and my thoughts are more like choppy waves on the surface rather than a refreshing dive into the calm waters.

I realize that to prepare myself for a flow state, I must break through the shell of hopelessness that has been hanging over me, especially since the violence in Buffalo and Uvalde. I gaze out my window to see the paradox of life bursting outside while sitting in the feeling of separation from the inside.

Awareness of what has brought me out of flow settles in. The mental distractions of resentments, news, tv, social media, and negative self-talk. Have you felt it too?

Suffering is real, but it isn’t Reality.

All religions speak to suffering as part of our human experience. If we want to get to its opposite, we must acknowledge and go through it on some level. Yoga calls suffering dukha. Duhka is the physical and emotional suffering that we experience during our lifetime, when we misidentify with the material world.

Take a moment and write down 5 things that you know bring you out of the flow. These could be from your mindset or daily activities. (ex. Spending to much time on social media or alone. Not getting outside or moving your body.)

Try to set some boundaries around, or avoid these things when possible. It is almost always ourselves that get in the way of FLOW.

The message of yoga is One -everything belongs.

Flow is the state of mind when a person becomes completely immersed in the present moment, or in traditional yoga immersed in The Divine. Yoga is consciousness abiding in the essence of the heart. According to yoga, this is the optimal state of flow. Our successes and failures give birth to skillful action essential to flow, but devotion is considered above all. In devotion activity becomes effortless and selfless, beyond ego sense.

The truly wise who dive deep into the essence of the heart, fearless, one pointed. They know Me as the inexhaustible source. -Bhagavad Gita (chapter 9 vs 11)

Sukha is the opposite of suffering. It is the ease and enjoyment of being. When we experience sukha, yoga would say that we are remembering who we are. It is like coming home.

Just as there are things that bring us out of the flow, there are behaviors that bring us into the flow. For me it is spending time in nature, enjoying food with friends and family, movement, prayer. and PAUSE. A change of heart will change our mind and actions. I look out my window again, and this time experience being included in all that is good and life giving.

Flow begins with surrender. It may mean surrendering to a certain amount of time to practice an instrument, paint a picture, spend time with a friend, or joining a yoga class. It may be surrendering our ego in a disagreement. Suffering begets flow because it gives rise to the opportunity for surrender. Surrender gives us hope and allows us relax into our being.

Take a moment to relax in the present moment. Connect with your breath, and write down 5 things that bring you into the flow. (ex. playing with your animals, creating art, being in nature, yoga, prayer.)

…Make time for some of these in your day.

Flow is a state, just like sleep. We cannot “will” ourselves into these states. We can only prepare ourselves through the discipline of the present moment. As you go through your daily activities imagine you are preparing your home, body, and work for a special guest. Practice all actions with the essence of devotion. Wait in great anticipation for the gift of flow.

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